We Are Still Here – 1 out of 5
I’ve been hearing great things about We Are Still Here for the last few months. I’ve heard a few celebs saying it’s amazing, some friends told me it’s a killer horror film and the fact it has a very high—nearly perfect—rating on Rotten Tomatoes all screamed that this was going to be a fantastic scary flick. The only problem I had was I wasn’t taking into consideration that when I took verbal recommendations for this film the people telling me the movie is spectacular always hesitated before saying they thought it was “rad.” That's kinda a big red flag that tells me that it might be all hype and, after watching it, it really does feel like that's all it was.
|All the best horror films start with a couple that lost their son and then immediately|
cuts to movie night under the covers on the couch.
Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) Sacchetti recently lost their son Bobby and decide to move from the city to a more remote home located outside a small town. Anne is having a really hard time getting over Bobby’s death and swears she can feel his presence in the house. She quickly invites some friends who are on the more “spiritual persuasion” to come and read the house for vengeful spirits. They soon learn that the house is home to a darkness that wakes up every few decades and demands a sacrifice.
|Look at that evil prick.|
I’m not going to say that my expectations for this film were high but seeing all the critical acclaim and all the praise from people who’ve watched it, I have to say that I did have hopes that I was going to watch a spine-chilling film. Sadly, what I experienced was a sloppy film that felt like it was composed and created by student filmmakers who changed the story after the first act and decided to do something completely different in the final moments of the feature. The whole film didn't feel like this critically acclaimed piece of art but rather an over-hyped sloppy mess that sorta feels like it has no idea where it wants to take itself.
|Dollar store Greg Kinnear, how are you?|
|"Hi! I'm the best actor this film has and I'm not utilized|
in the best possible manner."
The first problem that really took me out of the film was the fact that nearly all the performances in the film are weak. They’re never outright bad but pretty much no one in the film feels natural or even slightly authentic. The only character that was played remotely well was done by the actor Monte Markham who played a conniving character who knew more about the house than he was letting on. Aside from this, the rest of the cast all come off awkward, uncomfortable and completely incapable of giving a realistic reading of a single line.
|You can improve everyone's line reading in this film by muting your TV or |
just turning off the film and watching something better.
|Gah! A bad cover to a metal album is in this film!|
Secondly, there was no real atmosphere of horror throughout the entire film. Granted, there was a moment or two in the beginning that was creepy and felt like this film was going to be a slow-burn type that built to something really wicked but, in the end, these moments ended up feeling like flukes or accidental moments of horror. There was a genuinely scary moment that involved a handyman being attacked by the spirits in the basement but, aside from this, the rest of the film is devoid of any real terror, suspense or thrills. Writer/Director Ted Geoghegan almost feels like he is trying to alleviate this lack of terror by having the final act go off the rails and become a slasher/gorefest (which, by the way, was never really an element present throughout the rest of the film). At this point, it just felt like Geoghegan was trying to apologize for how boring the scares were and then sloppily added needless gore to make up for it. But that's guessing at the motives at their best because guessing at their worst and I can't help but wonder if Geoghegan just decided to give up on the more haunting scares and just go for cheap gore scares.
|Okay, movie, I'll give you this one because that is creepy as hell.|
Finally, the story was just uninteresting and terribly handled. At first, the film felt like it was going somewhere with the dead son but suddenly the focus changes to being about this haunted house (which felt like it was stolen from The Amityville Horror) and then it feels like it changes course again and becomes a slashfest with an emphasis on blood and guts in the final moments. Add in the fact that the film very lazily reveals the mystery involved in the house during a single moment of blatant exposition being literally told to the viewer and the fact the performances feel wooden and unnatural and it made me feel like there was no script for the film but was, rather, made up entire on the spot or from a smudged outline hastily written on a stained bar napkin. At least, that’s how I account for how the story keeps feeling like it is constantly changing focus and never really gives off the feel that it has a course in mind from the start. It’s quite a feat that this film, in its very short running length, can feel like it is jumping so rapidly from tone to tone but, at the very same time, feel like it is dragging on and on with no real direction in mind.
|So, please explain to me how you plan to wield several knives in one hand in order to protect yourself?|